Hair Loss in Pregnancy: Why It Happens and What to Do About It
It's normal to lose hair every day. We all experience a consistent and constant amount of hair loss, which is exacerbated by activities such as brushing and washing our hair. During the active phase of the growth cycle, around ninety percent of our hair is expanding, while the remaining ten percent is in the dormant phase.
After giving birth, the majority of women notice a loss of the thick, glossy hair that they had while pregnant. On the other hand, some pregnant women report that they have had hair loss throughout their pregnancy. Let's find out more about why women lose their hair during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Hair Loss Is Common, But Is It Normal?
Losing hair during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, may be a common and even expected side effect for some women. The majority of this may be attributed to either the anxiety or the shock that comes with being pregnant. This condition is known as telogen effluvium, and it does not have any connection to pregnancy at all.
Telogen effluvium is a condition that most often manifests itself during the first weeks of pregnancy and is most likely to stop later on in the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have been suffering hair loss beyond the first trimester of your pregnancy, you should discuss this with your midwife or primary care physician since it may be an indication of a more serious underlying health problem.
How Can Pregnancy Affect Your Hair?
During pregnancy, your hormones change quickly, which can make your hair thicker and fuller or dry and brittle.
During pregnancy, a natural slowing of the hair cycle occurs as a result of growing estrogen levels. This implies that follicles split at a slower pace, which results in the illusion of thicker as well as fuller hair when pregnant due to the slower rate at which hair is lost. This also implies that the follicles create less oil (sebum), which results in the hair seeming glossier and fuller as a result. Having said that, there are times when this is not the case.
The elevated levels of progesterone are likely to be to blame for at least some of the brittleness that might develop in the hair. During pregnancy, significant levels of the hormone progesterone are produced. However, this may cause your hair to become dry and brittle. The increased stiffness of the hair makes it more likely that the hair may break somewhere at the root, which might give the impression that there is less hair than there really is. On the other hand, this is not what we would consider a normal case of "hair loss."
Bear in mind that every pregnancy is unique in its own way. When you are pregnant for the first time, your hair may go through a completely different transformation than when you are pregnant for the second time.
Causes of Hair Loss In Pregnancy
There are lots of factors that could be responsible for hair loss during pregnancy. Let's look at some of those factors below:
Stress and trauma may cause hair loss and shedding in certain women. During pregnancy, a few women may have a condition known as telogen effluvium. This condition causes their hair to change into a telogen phase.
Because of the substantial fluctuations in hormone levels that occur throughout the first trimester of pregnancy to support the developing baby, the body may experience some stress during this time. About 30% or more of your follicles may enter the telogen, or "resting," phase of their life cycle while under stress. Therefore, you may lose three times as many hairs per day as the typical amount, which is 100 hairs per day.
It's possible that the hormonal alterations that cause hair loss won't show up straight away. Rather, it may take anywhere from 2 to 4 months before the thinning is noticeable. This disorder does not cause permanent hair loss and often does not linger for more than six months.
Poor Diet and Nutrition
When you're pregnant, your body needs more calories and nutrients than normal. In addition, the majority of nutrients will be lost if you feel nausea during the first trimester of your pregnancy. Loss of hair is a common side effect of not getting enough nutrients in one's diet. The problem is also made worse by a dietary deficiency that includes iron, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It is important to keep in mind that taking in an excessive amount of nutrients may also contribute to hair loss.
There are several conditions, such as diabetes or an extremely uncommon instance of ringworm (a fungal infection), that may cause hair loss in pregnant women. In these instances, the woman's hair may fall out. High blood pressure and depression medicines may cause hair loss as well. If anything like this occurs, you should definitely see a doctor.
A deficit in iron occurs when there is a shortage of red blood cells in the body, which prevents oxygen from reaching the various organs. It can cause hair loss in addition to other symptoms such as exhaustion, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath while exercising, and headaches.
It is more likely for pregnant women to acquire iron deficiency anemia, particularly if they have had many pregnancies in a short period of time, if they are pregnant with multiple babies, or if they suffer from severe morning sickness throughout their pregnancies. A blood test is another method that may be used to identify this problem.
Your hairline might not grow back to its normal thickness until your vitamin levels are back to normal.
You can have hair loss if you suddenly stop using birth control pills or any other kind of birth control. You might also lose your hair if you have an abortion, a miscarriage, or a stillbirth.
Hair loss isn't a life-threatening condition. However, the underlying reason, which may be anything like a lack of nourishment or disease, may be hazardous. If you notice that you are losing a significant amount of hair while you are pregnant, you will want to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician. If it doesn't bother you, try making a few adjustments to your daily routine and see what happens.
Fortunately, there are some ways to curb or avert hair loss during pregnancy. Below are some essential tips:
Eat Well and Exercise on a Regular Basis
Consuming food that is rich in the necessary nutrients that are needed for both the mother's and the unborn child's health is very vital. It is especially critical for an expectant woman to do so.
Another strong recommendation is that you choose a diet that is abundant in fruits and vegetables since these foods contain flavonoids and antioxidants. It will protect your hair follicles while also encouraging healthy hair growth. In addition, add a few extra servings of foods rich in zinc, vitamin E, the B complex, and vitamin C to your diet each day.
Practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
One of the primary factors that contribute to hair loss during pregnancy is stress. It is normal for a woman who is pregnant to have anxiety around the impending birth as well as any potential complications that may arise, but you should make an effort to remain calm and collected during your pregnancy.
Make it a point to think solely about the positive aspects of your life, and engage in activities that please you. Take some deep breaths, learn to relax, and give meditation a try if you want to relieve yourself of anxiety or stress.
Avoid Using Heat Styling
Instead of having your hair straightened, blow-dried, or styled in any other way, you should make an effort to keep your natural hair type. When your hair is damp, you need to be extra careful with how you handle it, and you should use a comb with broad teeth to detangle it.
Oil Your Scalp
It's been shown that massaging your scalp with oil on a regular basis may have a significant positive impact on your hair's overall health. Applying a little amount of oil to your hair before you go to sleep twice a week will help nourish it. It's OK to massage your hair with lukewarm oil from time to time. Nutrient-rich oils like olive oil, almond oil, and mustard oil are some of the nutritious oils that are at the top of their game.
Avoid Using Any Chemical Products
When you are expecting, it is recommended to steer clear of any hair care products that claim that they can fix all issues connected to hair loss. The market is filled with hair care products that make this promise. Due to the possibility that some cosmetics contain carcinogenic ingredients, they should not be used by women who are pregnant. You must only use shampoos and conditioners that include biotin and silica to get the best results.
Here are some easy DIY home remedies that can help you deal with hair loss effectively:
Aloe Vera Gel
Extracts of aloe vera are useful in the treatment of a wide variety of skin conditions. If the gel is applied to the scalp, it could stop hair loss caused by things like an infection or dryness of the scalp.
Massage with Oil
Some people believe that massaging the scalp with warm oil can help stop hair loss naturally. The massaging of the scalp with oils such as coconut, jojoba, almond, olive, or mustard oil is said to be the most effective way to nourish the scalp.
Keep It Natural
One of the best things you can do to prevent the risk of hair loss caused by skin infections or allergic reactions to the scalp is to use products that are natural and organic whenever possible. Natural products are completely safe for men with delicate skin.
Fresh Coconut Milk
Apply half a cup of coconut milk to your scalp and massage it with your fingers. After waiting for twenty to thirty minutes, rinse it off with a quality herbal shampoo. It is recommended that you use fresh milk rather than the canned version.
Citric Lemon Juice
Toss in one tsp of lemon juice after beating up one egg. After applying it to the scalp, let it sit for about half an hour. Rinse it. Not only does this help to stop hair loss, but it also has the potential to make the hair fuller and smoother.
Combine one-fourth of a tsp of essential oil with six tbsp of castor oil in a mixing bowl. After applying the mixture to the scalp and waiting an hour, you should wash it off. However, before you start taking essential oils throughout your pregnancy, you should check with your physician to be sure it's safe to do so.
Olive oil, yogurt, and an egg
Make a paste using the aforementioned components and apply it to the affected area once per week. This serves as a treatment that provides intensive conditioning for your tresses.
In addition to the treatments listed above, you can also change the products you use on your hair to stop hair loss during pregnancy.
It is typical for women to have some thinning or loss of hair during pregnancy, even if it is not particularly common. This is particularly true when hair loss is caused by hormonal shifts or other specific health concerns. Hair regrowth is expected to return with time or with therapy for the underlying condition.
The most significant amount of postpartum hair loss often occurs four months after delivery. The interesting thing is that you should be back to your usual peak within the next six to nine months, which is the same time as your child's first birthday.
If your hair loss persists or you notice additional symptoms, talk to your doctor about it.